22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
C'est manifigue! The order of the Phoenix,
This review is from: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Audio CD)
I delighted that no one buys Phoenix records for all the wrong reasons. It enables me to have dirty little secret that is shared only by a few knowing individuals that this French band is actually the greatest pop band on the planet; there is no contest. Alright a load of old farts feeling smug because they are so clever and wise is hardly a compensation for a band who should outsell those tired old dinosaurs that cling onto the charts like limpets U2, Keane, and Muse. But that is the reality and we must learn to live with the deep humilation.
Still you don't know what you're missing. When I say pop music I mean music that people like Air, Blur, Teenage Fanclub and Death Cab for Cutie produce. Intelligent music that grows on every listen and which soundtracks your life, transporting you from the depths of despair to somewhere entirely different. Phoenix are at the apex of such groups. They write crisp, sophisticated, cool, minimalist, French, sleek songs which are so hook laden you could catch a whale with them. They have been around for 10 years and produced brilliant albums throughout including the wonderful "United". Their songs have sound tracked the some of the greatest movies ("Too young" was in Sophia Copola's staggering "Lost in Translation). They have also written songs where it is obligatory to listen to them starring into the bluest oceans in world from the most beautiful beach, on the hottest day with a glass of hugely expensive white wine in your hand and someone you deeply love sat by your side ("You can blame it on anybody" from Alphabetical and "If I ever feel better" from United). Trust me you will think world peace is possible.
The great news that Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is by a marathon the best album they have made and there are signs that they might do "an Elbow" not least of all since all the tracks are being massively remixed across the web by a range of produces in different styles and forms. "1901" for example is completely ubiquitous across the music blogs -check out the versions by the Afghan Raiders, COMA and the Fortune mixes (there are about 15 others at the last count). All this attention is for good reason it's a fantastic track which displays all the trademarks of the Phoenix sound of with pop so smart you feel like it should come with a complimentary A level. "Lisztomania" has been equally deconstructed and taken from the fab breezy pop song on the album to a stunning piece of dance electronica (check the Alex Metric, CLASSIXX and Holy Ghost mix versions). Stick on the headphones and enjoy
What is interesting is that these two great songs aren't even the best songs on the album the bar is set so high. "Fences" is the masterwork here. A heavy synth classic into which is thrown a brief but lovely acoustic guitar break and a wonderful vocal. It will be played at discos around Europe and yes is subject to many mixes. Love like Sunset Part 1 is an ambient piano coda that develops into a song that would happily sit on a Kraftwerk's greatest hits and could get Tangerine Dream to reform.
Other greats include "Girlfriend" and "Rome" although by next week I will be smitten with "Lasso" and "Countdown". Phoenix albums have tended in the past to run out of steam at the half way point. Here it is a great relief to report that they have recorded their most consistent and sustained pop epic since they started their careers singing drunken Prince covers in French bars. The scale of mixes is a tribute to the inventiveness and the sheer class of this outfit. They attract other musicians and DJs like pollen to a hay fever sufferer and everyone wants a slice of the action. The mythical bird may yet rise from the ashes.